Reality Check: Am I being unreasonable? - AgingCare.com

Reality Check: Am I being unreasonable?

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Hello, fellow caregivers! Although I spend a great deal of time reading the forums and looking for advice, I find myself in need of a reality check. For the past 5 years or so I've encouraged my now 90/91 year old parents to move out of their three story house and of state to be closer to me. I have two siblings who did pitch in a little to help with them, but even that was enough. When push comes to shove, my mother always looks to me for support and decisions. She rarely, if ever makes decisions on her own. Dad has stage 6 Alzheimer's, mom functions fairly well on her own and takes care of him during the day. Last summer mom indicated that it was getting to be too much and asked if she could move them into an independent care community near me. I told her to come into my home and we can make a decision about the appropriate level of care for them, but that setting up a new condo in an independent care community was unreasonable and would give me a second residence to care for. Long story short, they've moved in with my spouse and me. Dad's disease continues on its destructive course, mom is bored to tears sitting in the house doing nothing all day, and the conversation about them moving to an assisted living facility have gone nowhere productive. I've taken them to visit several and she gives me a polite, "that's nice," and we move on. She insists that she is not going, and would put him in memory care, but not go herself. She is his world and separating them would be devastating to him. Here's where I need the reality check. I did not sign up for this. I have a demanding job and my spouse and I have previously enjoyed basically being in control of our home and our time. We loved to travel, and now a weekend away is impossible. I will likely retire in the next five years, and we may want to start looking at downsizing. Now every waking minute is consumed with making sure they're needs are taken care of. I have to bathe my father, which is uncomfortable, shop for groceries, tidy up behind them, etc. Dad is incontinent and has lots of difficulty in the bathroom. The house smells like urine, their bathroom is a struggle to keep clean, and I've had to insist on mom taking proper care of disposing of his diapers. The kitchen is cluttered with their food and snacks, and we have gotten to the point where we rarely eat at home. Now my spouse and I are feeling as if our marriage isn't stable anymore. I feel like the walls are closing in on me. They are well off financially and as far as I can tell should have no concerns about money. Am I being unreasonable to want them to move into a more appropriate care facility? How can I "unstick" myself. I was only trying to help solve an immediate problem, not take this on in any permanent way.

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The problem started the minute they moved into your house, on your request.

Explain to your mother that she will have to "pick one" of the lovely places you have toured with her. Say this move to your house was temporary and now there are things happening that may have your marriage end in divorce. Yes, that's harsh, but she needs to see the reality- that they need to live somewhere they can both be taken care of in their own ways.

Revisit the "chosen" facility and make arrangements soon for them to move in.

My husband and I were in the same boat when HE suggested that we move my Alzheimer's stage 6 mother in with us. (The other facility she had been in raised the rent too many times and she couldn't afford it.) BIG, BIG mistake. (I tried to tell him.) Within 3 months, we were snapping at each other and, at times, barely speaking.
NO ONE is worth tearing your marriage apart. You can't please all of the people all of the time.

My mom now resides in another less expensive Memory Care facility. She and we are much happier.
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Reply to SueC1957
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Forgive me if I mis-step as I'm not totally clear on the background....but I am not understanding why your parents have to go live in the same place together? Is it just because it's what your father would or might want? It sounds like your mother does NOT want it (she says clearly that she'll put him in memory care but is not going herself), and that's probably why she is resisting the places you show her.

I don't think your father's "needs" or "wants" should take priority over your mother's. His brain is broken. He's not capable of making those decisions anymore.  And I agree with others that it sounds like your mom is probably past ready to retire from caregiving and doesn't want to get "locked away" in a place she doesn't really belong. 

Again, forgive me if I'm mis-reading the situation, but it sounds to me like the solution to unsticking yourself is you accepting their separation. Your mother is already there.

To me, the most reasonable solution seems to be moving your father into memory care, moving your mother into an independent living situation, and getting her some home supports in place so you are not the one looking after her new home.
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Reply to Dorianne
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Your mother doesn't like the ALFs, I assume, because of the state of the other residents?

Difficult. She wanted to go to the IL community, remember. That they're now living in your home instead is your doing - I know you know this, I don't mean to rub it in, I'm just saying it needs taking into account.

I'd keep looking for more flexible facilities, aiming for one that provides continuing care and has a greater spectrum among the residents.

But to expect your mother to accept what she sees as incarceration in an asylum, tied to your father... you can see why she's not keen.

Meanwhile. Any day centres or groups they could join to get out from under your feet for a couple of afternoons a week? These *could* be separate - if your mother is still caregiving at 90 she must be desperate for a break by now.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Time for a mid-course correction. It was at your request that your parents moved in. That first needs to be evaluated, but isn't easy given that your mother doesn't want to move.

So, what changes can you make in the household to ease the burden on you and your husband and the feelings your parents are experiencing?


I wouldn't recommend private duty as for me it was a bad experience, but you might be able to find some assistance if you can actually find a good company. Many of the tasks you're performing could be done by others.

Is your father a Vet? Get him registered for medical treatment and (a) ask about in home assistance and (b) their very good caregiving support program.


You're not being unreasonable; you've recognized a glitch in the planned care, now it's time to address it and find alternatives. If you think of it that way, you can keep the emotions out (hopefully) of the picture, to the extent possible.

Good luck, and please feel free to ask more questions or come back with alternate plans.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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No, I didn't mean you thought she *ought* to be doing more. It's just that it sounds as if the lady is burned out and - I'm sure she'd bite her own tongue off rather than say so - maybe sick to death of dementia and longing for articulate company? She must be pretty capable mentally, with all she's doing at her age.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I hope you’ll not sacrifice your marriage for this untenable situation. Your mom was functioning, maybe not the best, but functioning in her home, but now is bored in yours but also not helping in taking care of anything. Certainly can understand her not being up to the heavy lifting of caregiving but it sounds like she was totally exhausted and came to your home and stopped altogether. Since you say she’s not good with decisions it’s time for you to more directly guide her into a new place for them to live. Revisit if needed and find out which one she’d like the best. Hope you can get them moved soon
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Thanks for all of your input. It really was heartbreaking last night. I heard some conversation downstairs and looked in on the camera and saw my 90-year-old mother helping my 91-year-old father out of bed to use the bathroom. Although she insists on the two of them staying together, she really does need to relax and enjoy her remaining years, too. It is interesting that she brought up the subject today, so she must be feeling the same pressures to find a solution. Although I feel some guilt pangs, I think this is the right decision.
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Reply to Traveler58
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Point of order: the mother *is* supervising the father, all day, and cooking (although not clearing up after) for the two of them. She's *ninety*. When does she get to retire and play bridge?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Countrymouse, I likely didn’t express myself so well above. I didn’t mean to say that the 90 year old should be doing the caregiving, more like perhaps she isn’t up to all it had been appearing she was when living in her own home. Though her spouse is the one with dementia, she hasn’t escaped Father Time in her own ways and it’s showing. No criticism, more like thinking assisted living would be a blessing for her as well.
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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How awful for you. You must get them out to preserve your marriage. If they are well-off financially, they should be taking care of themselves and not expecting you to be the unpaid slave labor.

Are they paying anything to stay in your house? Nice for your sibs that your free caregiving (and room & board?) is preserving the inheritance. YOU should have been paid from that money for all the caregiving you have been doing for the past year.

Mama won't be happy moving out. Accept that. But you need to get them out to preserve your health, your sanity and your marriage.
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Reply to CTTN55
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